Sure we have come a long way from the times when a student was expected to prove his respect for his teacher by giving a Guru Dakshina or a tribute to a teacher who was almost like a second parent! In ancient times, parents sent their children to gurukuls an equivalent of today's residential schools. Parents placed complete trust in the gurus, believing that the guru would help their children grow into complete adults who were ready to take on the world n its own terms.
Today, things have changed, with the advent of the commercialisation of education, things have changed. In ancient times we had mostly, a single teacher who catered to all the educational needs of the Shishya or the student. Commercialisation of education and the presence of multiple teachers has led to a dilution in the amount of respect that a single teacher would have received in ancient times. One wonders if today students might be as capable as their ancient forbears in showing their gratitude towards their teachers.
The fifth of September also coincides with the birth day of Dr S.Radha Krishnan, an accomplished educationist and an erstwhile President of the country. On teachers day many years back, student would take up the roles of their favourite teachers and they would then run the whole school for a day. The experience of teaching other students was an experience worth remembering! I remember, many years back how after the day ended, students who had played teacher would have a get together with their teachers and they would then share how they feel about being a teacher. It was an emotional moment when they shared their feelings. One girl expressed her amazement about how we teachers were able to handle difficult students day after day. There were a few others who expressed wonder and amazement about the ability of teachers to work with such patience and that too with a smile on their faces.
Teachers day is a day when all of us remember our favourite teachers - they were people who made a difference in our lives. The extra care that they took of us, the pains they took to ensure that we scored better grades. Quite a few of my teachers in school were Ethiopian as I went to school in Ethiopia. I remember how energetic and dynamic they were, the enthusiasm of the Amharic teacher, the patience of the librarian who was patient enough to entertain me with my long list of books, Ato Bogale, who taught me English in grade eleven, he had one the most amazing pronunciations and a splendid baritone too! College too was wonderful with all those teachers who made you want to be with. The teacher who taught us child psychology, the teacher who dabbled in abstruse philosophy and yet end it all up with a commonplace remark, they were all exceptions!
I would like to say 'Thank you' to all my teachers for making me what I am, a teacher, and very happy to be one, too!
It is true that commercialisation has taken place in the field of education, and some students believe that teachers are paid to teach them so why should there be so much ado about be ing grateful to their teachers. Unfortunately no amount of money will ever buy the love and dedication of a teacher. Teachers are never bought, rather they are won through love and respect. In a world of virtual reality and virtual classrooms, nothing can ever beat the human touch that a teacher brings to the classroom. Processes and procedures might give structure to the lesson , but then it is only the teachers passion that can give life to the lesson!